Does anyone remember the DreamWorks 2-Ds and hand-drawns? Anyone? You may remember Prince of Egypt, but for the most part, people seem to only remember the CG movies, such as Shrek, Antz, and Madagascar. However, I think my favorite DreamWorks film is probably the one that I just saw for my first time a few days ago: The Road to El Dorado. I remembered seeing little bits and pieces as a kid, but I never actually watched it all the way through. Honestly though, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much in my youth as I do now.
From a writing perspective, it is clearly a carefully built and structured film, that perfectly exemplifies the “correct” way to write a Hollywood narrative movie. This is exactly what I would expect from the people behind the screenwriting website Wordplayer.com, which I highly recommend to everyone who has an interest in film. The characters in the movie are strong, and the story is one that frequently connects to itself, if that makes sense. (I mean to say that elements that appear early in the film connect to events later in the film, and every scene is there for a purpose.) One of the writers did acknowledge that the middle of the film suffers from a bad studio decision to keep the protagonists “laying low” for a while, or in other words, actively doing absolutely nothing while waiting for their boat to be built. Still, the situation is handled in a way that makes it bearable. The screenplay seems to get a bit to edgy or dark for young children at times, so I do not recommend that the li’l ones are shown this film, but for an adult, it surprisingly adds to the fun.
That being said, even if the writing had been terrible, the music and animation are so wonderful that the film would arguably be good anyway. Once the protagonists enter the mysterious city of El Dorado, you can expect every scene to look gorgeous from that point on. The music is by Elton John and Tim Rice, so I don’t need to say anything else about that. While I personally did not relate with the characters very much (which is a pretty typical problem for me when I watch movies) I can still say that this is a very enjoyable film that made me gape with wonder multiple times, and it is sure to be a joy for anyone who loves a good animated flick.